Saturday, May 21, 2016

Knitting up Gradient Shawls

Knitwhits Freia Lace Ombre Yarn "Flare"

I don't know how this yarn is created, but I had to have it. I'd seen similar yarns on Etsy and Ravelry, like Kauni, and was determined to someday get some. Before I could hit the PayPal button, though, I ended up at Vogue Knitting Live 2013 in NYC, and THERE IT WAS.

Knitwhits Freia. OMG. A whole booth of amazing color. I bought lots. Well, I bought 7 skeins, at any rate. More would be overwhelming.

Shawl, I thought. Has to be a shawl. Something simple, because I would mostly be staring bewitched at the color shifts, not the lace design. So I picked a nice rhythmic pattern called Garden of Allah, free on Ravelry. The yarn was a dream to knit with: strong light lace yarn, quick to work on Addi turbos. And I made this. And I love it.

So in 2014 I went back to VK Live and bought more of this yarn. And since then I've made three more shawls from Knitwhits gradients.

Above: Light and Up Shawl, in Lichen colorway (which matches THREE outfits I own):
Below: Summer Sea Shawl, in Dusk colorway:

I really like the construction of this shawl, not just its geometry: the central spine increase of an otherwise conventional triangular top-down shawl is made with a double yarn-over, making a set of extra-large holes down the center. 

There are a few more gradients in the stash, from different sources, and a few more nice simple shawl patterns that will strike a nice balance between "simple enjoyable design" and "whoa nice colors!" So, more to come...

Vintage SF: I Have Another Tumblr

It's odd living with so many books I still haven't read. Inheriting my father-in-law's huge collection of vintage SF books was an astonishing but mostly overwhelming privilege. Years later we're still working our way through the treasure trove. Some books are easy to deal with, depending on age, condition and rarity: given to friends, given away at an SF convention or to a thrift store, or sold online. There are a terrible lot of keepers, though, books I always meant to read and now here they are, in my own house, for free, no limits! And worse, there are books I never knew I wanted to read but here they are, in my own house, instead of lying on an easy-to-ignore dealer's room table...

Anyway, I've decided to put the many many MANY books we still have into a Tumblr blog all their own. I've lately been on a decluttering kick, and so have once again begun to sort the unsorted and get rid of a bunch of these lovely old SF books. Some are not rare, just old, and are headed for either the local library bookstore, a local thrift store, or the freebie table at Readercon. Others may yet find their way to a vintage paperback dealer.

It's extremely satisfying to open up some shelf space for newer books. Much as I still love the older generations of SF and fantasy, I love a whole lot of the new stuff too.

Friday, March 11, 2016

I Have a Tumblr

Ha, even old ladies like me can eventually figure out stuff like Tumblr! IT CAN BE DONE. Laugh all you want, kids, just not on my lawn!

And so now Tales of the Magpie Prince is a Tumblr thing, and I will update it fairly frequently with musical, magical and folklore asides that add some background to the story: stuff about magpies, British blues music, seventh sons, counting rhymes, totem animals, potions, and other things I encountered in the course of my research.

I knew in elementary school that I wanted to be a writer someday. I wrote a bunch of Star Trek fiction in high school and college. That was how I discovered that RESEARCH is like the best habit to develop in school for being a writer. Good thing I was good at it.

Also, and this is important, if the research isn't engaging and absorbing and totally fun to do, then DON'T WRITE THE STORY. I discovered this when years ago trying some sci-fi world building for a (terrible) story idea I had. There are now books on how to do this, but I went about calculating planetary orbits and climates and food and animals and putting a whole world together...and didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would starting out. The parts I enjoyed most were inventing food plants, recipes and clothing styles for my aliens. Never stuck with it anyhow, but I suppose I could still salvage that story with an emphasis on cookery...